Relic of L.A. History May House Poor

Times Staff Writer

The once-elegant Strong House, one of the few remaining reminders of downtown Los Angeles’ Victorian past, would be relocated and converted to low-income housing under a plan being discussed by city officials and local preservationists.

The plan to save the house is the most promising of several plans being considered by the city and preservationists as a hearing Wednesday on a request to demolish the structure nears, Jay Oren of the city’s Cultural Heritage Commission said last week.

If the plan turns out to be financially feasible, the ornate, 101-year-old, three-story building would be moved from 633 W. 15th St. to a lot two miles away on Coronado Street near Wilshire Boulevard.

Plans for Conversion


The house would then be refurbished and converted, perhaps into a three-family dwelling, and be turned over to a nonprofit organization for operation.

Oren noted, however, that the house, an official historic landmark that most recently served as a 27-unit apartment building, “has not been saved. It’s not out of the woods yet.”

The house’s owner, the Community Redevelopment Agency, requested this summer that it be torn down to make way for a $390-million expansion of the Convention Center.

But since the request was made, redevelopment agency representatives and officials of the heritage commission, the mayor’s office, the office of Councilwoman Gloria Molina and the Los Angeles Conservancy, a nonprofit preservationist group, have met to work out a plan to avoid destroying the structure.


One major problem--how to move the house without having to cut it into pieces and put it back together again--has been worked out, Oren said. And the Department of Water and Power, owner of the Coronado Street lot, has said that the property is available.

Finding a way to pay for rehabilitation of the house is the next challenge, Oren said.

Jay Rounds, executive director of Los Angeles Conservancy, has met with leaders of trade unions to get them to do the work for in-kind services or little or no money.

“We have to move on this rather quickly,” Rounds said. “We’ve taken representatives from the unions through the house and we’re just waiting to hear from them.”